ORLANDO, Fla. — For people less fortunate, a big Thanksgiving meal is not always something they can look forward to on this holiday. But thanks to an effort led by a businessman, about 20,000 people got a warm meal at Orlando’s Salvation Army on Thursday.

  • "Helpings from the Heart" fed about 20,000 in Orlando on Thanksgiving
  • Business man Eric Holm created the event in 1992
  • About 1,100 volunteers helped make the event possible

Eric Holm now owns dozens of Golden Corrals and other area restaurants, but says when he was growing up, his family would’ve gone hungry if it wasn’t for getting some help.

“As a child we got Salvation Army meals around the holidays, and that inspired me 27 years ago when I was able to give something back in return,” Holm said.

Chris Sweeney and his wife have been homeless since Sweeney lost his job as a security guard.  They recently found a place to call home, but the money is still tight and meals are hard to come by.

“And it’s kind of rough to put food in the house when it falls every month on the first, and it doesn’t go very far,” Sweeney said.

About 1,100 volunteers helped make Holm’s “Helpings from the Heart” meal possible.  Since the event began back in 1992, those volunteers have served an estimated 525,000 meals to people.